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Using deliberate ambiguity of the information economy in the design of a mobile location based games

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paperpeer-review



This paper presents a research project to extend the concept of ‘Seamful Design’ within mobile location based games, which currently seeks to reveal the ambiguity of the system or infrastructure to a player, by introducing additional and deliberate ambiguity in how information is presented and revealed to players. This deliberate ambiguity radically changes the information economy of the games by presenting intentionally imperfect information to players to encourage obliquity of players’ actions within the game. These concepts are presented through the design, implementation, and real world testing of the collaborative multiplayer mobile location based game ‘They Howl’. The design of the game incorporates seamful design by deliberately utilising the network latency and deliberate information ambiguity of player locations to encourage both emergent collaborative game play and obliquity in player actions within the game. The results of the user trials illustrate that more tactical game-play emerges with less reliance of the information displayed on the phone screen which is often a criticism of such games.